The dumbest political attack of the year in a big roomful of contenders
As with all previous presidencies, there are undoubtedly some legitimate criticisms that can be leveled at the Biden-Harris administration for its performance over its first 31 months in office.
While the decision to face reality and end the United States’s hopelessly futile occupation of Afghanistan proved correct, the process and communication surrounding it could have been handled better.
The failure to pursue the reversal of hateful Trump-era immigration policies more aggressively has been disappointing.
The deals the administration cut with West Virginia’s coal-loving Democratic senator, Joe Manchin, in order to secure passage of laws like the Inflation Reduction Act, might have been politically necessary, but they’ve undermined efforts to tackle the global climate emergency.
The dwindling number of un-Trumpified American conservatives who still genuinely prioritize issues like fiscal restraint will find fault with the Biden bump in anti-poverty spending – never mind that it proved critically important in rapidly ending the COVID-19 recession.
And, it’s a time-honored American tradition that when it comes to political attack ads, hyperbole and embellishment are frequently the name of the game.
But all that said, the most recent attack launched by the North Carolina Republican Party against the administration must be among the dumbest and most laughably ridiculous broadsides in modern political history.
In an email I received entitled “ALERT: The Socialist Nightmare Continues,” the GOP makes the following preposterous claims:
THE VERY FUTURE OF OUR NATION is under threat, Rob. Under the leadership of Biden and Harris, we find ourselves on the brink of an abyss, teetering on the edge of a full-blown socialist disaster.
…Imagine waking up one morning to find that our beloved nation has been transformed into a socialist utopia for the elite, leaving hardworking citizens like you behind. How would you feel? Outraged? Betrayed? That’s exactly what might happen if we fail to act NOW.
Now, it’s true that education spending in our state has been slashed over the past decade and liberal arts, like history and social studies, deemphasized, but c’mon GOP’ers – do y’all even know what socialism is?
By any fair estimation, the U.S. has seldom been further than it is today from a system in which the means of production are collectively owned. In fact, after decades of transformative change that commenced in earnest under the presidency of George W. Bush, the power of corporations and the tiny handful of super-plutocrats who control them is now at a level that rivals the robber baron era.
Right now, thanks in large part to policy changes pursued by the political right over the last few decades that have aggressively shifted wealth away from average Americans and toward the 1% — tax cuts, deregulation, weak enforcement of labor and anti-trust laws — a few hundred billionaires control as much wealth as tens of millions of people. The Biden-Harris team has tried to slow this process and to begin to reverse it, but to only very limited effect thus far.
Indeed, it’s hard to think of a time in modern American history in which private wealth, commerce and consumerism have played a more central and commanding role in our culture.
The Census Bureau reported last month that new business applications have been soaring to record highs during the Biden-Harris years.
This is socialism?
Now it’s true that, like the rest of the world, the U.S. confronts enormous challenges – some potentially dire and conducive to nightmares.
The global climate emergency and the broader environmental crisis of which it is a central component are the elephants in the room that threaten just about everything we hold dear.
Laws and policies that elevate the possession of killing machines over basic societal health and safety, as well as those that reverse decades of hard-won progress for people who don’t happen to be white, cisgender males, are also of grave concern.
And one hopes (and has reason to expect) that taking on these problems will top the list of priorities during a second Biden-Harris term.
But when it comes to the current economic wellbeing of average Americans – a key metric in judging national leadership – it’s clear that Bidenomics have been a remarkable success.
In just over two-and-half years, the Biden administration’s common-sense strategies have rallied the nation out of a disastrous recession, ushed in record-low unemployment, raised wages, cut poverty, expanded healthcare, lowered drug prices, and in recent months, led the way in curbing global inflation.
Heck, earlier this year, even North Carolina’s long-recalcitrant Republican leadership embraced the signature public policy achievement of the last Democratic administration: the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid.
The bottom line: 2024 figures to be a momentous and contentious year in American politics that will be overflowing with pointed and even alarmist attacks. But if claims of “socialism” are the best Republicans can muster against an experienced and formidable leader like Joe Biden, they’re in for a long, uphill fight.
NC Newsline is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. NC Newsline maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Rob Schofield for questions: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow NC Newsline on Facebook and Twitter.